February 2023 | Nextworks
You have a rockstar sales employee, Annette. Annette is energetic, positive, and productive. Your customers have formed a great relationship with her after working together for several years. Everything on the Annette front is running smoothly.
Then one day you receive the disappointing news that Annette has resigned to move onto new opportunities. Your persuasion for her to stay is unsuccessful, so you wish Annette the best of luck on her new venture.
You soon discover that Annette decides to go on her own and she is now a competitor. Annette has signed a Confidentiality and Non-Solicitation Agreement with you, so you should be safe. It’s a free market. You too were a startup years ago.
Being prudent, you instruct your IT personnel to forward Annette’s email accordingly. You also have her phone extension forwarded. And next begins the hiring process.
But now hmmm, those orders that once came in from Annette are no longer arriving at previous levels. You confirm that her email is still flowing, but where are the calls? Is Annette soliciting your customers?
Upon investigation, you discover that Annette isn’t entirely unscrupulous. She is not reaching out to your customers. But she isn’t turning down your customers who are reaching out to her. As it turns out, Annette rarely used her desktop phone at the office. Always being on the go, she almost always used her personal cell phone for business. Just because she left doesn’t mean your customers didn’t stop calling her.
While Annette knows that she is certainly bound to her legal agreement with you, it’s simply too tempting for her to accept orders knocking on her door.
No more allowing personal cell phone use for work, at the very least for your sales force.
One option is to provide company cell phones to your employees. This way you own all phone numbers and can easily reassign the number to someone else. Aside from the expense of cell phones, the difficulty you face is enforcement. We all know how we are glued to our phones. But try being attached to two cell phones. That’s likely not going to last. One of those phones is too often going to be left on the dining room table. And well, it’s not going to be one’s personal phone. That’s the phone the kids contact you with!
A better alternative is to deploy softphones. You would instruct your employees to download a phone app for business use. This app is assigned a phone number (owned by the company) and employee policy is to exclusively use this app for all business communications. This requires going to the app to place outgoing calls. Incoming calls will ring the app. Otherwise, it works just like a normal phone. Customers will see your phone number and your company name on their caller ID.
Another advantage of deploying softphones is that your employees’ cell phones are now a part of your phone system. Each cell phone app is assigned an extension. This way, coworkers can dial their extensions direct, forward calls, or see who’s on the phone. Mobile employees can be part of a ring group, and they are accessible as a selection from the main phone menu. Managers can also access call metrics measuring activity and response time.
Ultimately, this places you in control of your employees’ voice communications, and your customer retention.
✎ Related Article: Working Smarter in the Field Using VoIP